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Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 14, 2011 5:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Hey MJ--interesting stuff...I won't quibble bout the various facts/assumptions/estimates that go into the doom & gloom scenario (that's not meant as a knock, just a summary of your position). I just wanted to note for those that want to take the alternative viewpoint (Polly Annas of the world), it's the safe bet. Why? Is there any basis in fact that suggests any key assumption is faulty, that any one or two tipping pt issues can be flipped to "our" advantage and avoid the catastrophe?

Don't know, and don't have the energy to work on it; have endorsed the downside scenarios too many times in the past and been burned. All you have to think of is "whacky California Environmentalist background" and you'll instantly recognize the phenotype. EG, I was on board with the Cal physics profs that used airtight models to predict the temp of our planet at roughly 50C, EVERYWHERE, by 2000 (back in 75). Of course, that didn't work out so well (er, bad...well, okay, I am actually glad it failed).

But, that's the upside on every doom & gloom scenario over the past 200 yrs. Malthus had the first airtight argument. Current resource levels, forseeable increases in productivity + pop growth = end of the world as they knew it by 1850. What happened? Industrial revolution changed baseline parameters. How about agricultural economists and 1933? It was going to be all over by 1975 given current models of plant productivity, blah, blah, blah. But, along came Watson and Crick, and much more refined twists on the Green Revolution, and bingo: plant productivity goes thru the roof.

One could go on and on, but you get the idea: there is always, always a techno fix to each and every worst case scenario proposed over the past 200 yrs. Often not what I wanted to hear as an Ed Abbey sort hoping we'd see the End of Empire, and perhaps restore a whacky balance to the Earth's ecosystems, but it never plays out that way.

So, I am not one to endorse head in the sand approaches to any of these issues, and have no problem with one and all speaking out as to the fundamental flaws in current monetary policy, oil based economies, etc., etc., etc; but for those concerned about their kids, which in the end is all that matters (well, okay, I am that old), the good news is that one way or another, I'd take the safe bet: in short, the worst case scenario ain't gonna happen. It never does, and there's no getting around it. As to why that's so, it doesn't really matter. That's the next whiz kid's science project, or benefit to some activity somewhere that appears to have no possible benefit at the time, but turns out to be a huge help done the line in another realm.

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Feb 14, 2011 7:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

WT -

Good stuff and as always greatly appreciate the point-counterpoint.

Here's why it's different this time........

The Industrial Revolution coincided with the discovery of cheap and abundant energy from oil and coal. The Industrial Revolution occurred largely in part because we had found a way to consume energy and resources faster. Economic growth was easy back then, because both energy and resources existed in abundant excess. We simply were able to consume more faster - but arguably at least we made stuff that was relatively useful. So yes, while the baseline parameters changed regarding efficiency and output, so did the baseline parameters of resource consumption.

Plant productivity now depends on consumption of oil derived pesticides and fertilizers - phosphorous, potassium, manganese, magnesium, etc. Resources all - that exist in finite quantity.

Every single aspect of putting food on someone's plate is dependent on........wait for it..........oil.

Pushing capitalistic greed aside (what else do you call it when we grow enough food to feed the world, yet people are starving because they can't afford it or it isn't sent to them). Planting, tending, reaping, processing, distribution, shipping and ultimately, preparation.

It's different this time because the scope of our dependency on oil derived energy exists on an almost unfathomable scale.

It's different this time because even if a new source of energy were to be developed, it doesn't exist on sufficient scale to replace just the energy portion of the oil equation. Even if we had sufficent energy generation capacity, we lack the infrastructure to handle and distribute said energy. Even if Marty McFly were to drop down in your driveway with his Mr. Fusion powered DeLorean.....

There were 246 million cars in the US last year - almost all of them ran on gasoline or diesel. Automobile manufacturers would require huge amounts of capital AND resources to retool their production lines to manufacture all electric cars - should Mr. Fusions be in the market. That would take years and there is nothing out there right now on sufficient scale. Don't forget that all of those 246 million batteries require heavy metals.....yet another finite resource.

Stepping back again to just the energy piece. In order to replace the energy production attributed and dependent on foreign oil we would need to increase our solar output by 2000x current level. Not 2000%, 2000 TIMES. Guess what we make photovoltaic cells and other key components of solar energy systems out of?

Yup, petroleum and rare earth metals - finite and post peak resources.

Nearly all detractors of the Peak Oil discussion point to technology as the savior. But what they fail to address, is unlike the Industrial Revolution that was able to capitalize on wanton consumption of cheap, abundant and excess energy, whatever technology that is just around the corner is also likely dependent on consumption of resources and energy - just to get the technology proven. The amount of resource consumption to make such saving technologies viable solutions from a distributive infrastructure standpoint I don't think is understood, nor is the required scope appreciated. New technologies typically require new supporting infrastructures, or significant upgrading of existing infrastructure.

So unless some bubba in Missouri has figured out a way to circumvent the law of conservation of energy, I think we are looking at some big changes and some very interesting times.

Like you said, it might be worse, it might not be. What it is most definitely going to be is very, very different.

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Feb 14, 2011 9:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

What is The Zeitgeist Movement? -- below is copied & pasted

Started in late 2008, The Zeitgeist Movement exists as the communication and "Activist Arm" of an organization called The Venus Project. The Venus Project was started many decades ago by Social/Industrial Designer Jacque Fresco and his life's work has been to address and overcome the lack of sustainability existing currently across the world and work to incorporate new methods and values before it is too late. The basic pursuit of The Movement is to begin a transition into a new, sustainable social design called a “Resource-Based Economy”. This term was first coined by Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project and refers to an economic structure based exclusively on strategic resource management as the starting point for all decisions.

Basic Observations:
In the view of The Movement, the world today has become very detached from the physical world, with techniques of production and distribution that have no relationship to the environment. Our use of a profit based, “growth” driven monetary system has become one of the greatest destroyers of the natural world, not to mention sustainable human values. It is important to understand that the entire global economy requires “cyclical consumption” to operate, which means that money must constantly be circulating. Thus, new goods and services must be constantly introduced regardless of the state of the environment and actual human necessity. This "perpetual" approach has a fatal flaw, for resources as we know it are simply not infinite. Resources are finite and the Earth is essentially a closed system.
The true goal of any economy is to preserve - or "economize" - this is not occurring and cannot occur in a monetary driven system where labor for income requires consumer demand. We actually live in a global "anti-economy" by all rational standards.

Also, the intents inherent within a monetary system are counter progressive and derive a strategic edge from scarcity. This means that depleted resources are actually a positive thing for industry in the short term, for more money can be made off each respective unit. This is known as the basic law of supply & demand and hence “value” in economics. This creates a perverse reinforcement to ignore environmental problems and the negative consequences of scarcity, for it literally translates into profit. There is little intrinsic motivation to "solve" any problem or to make things that last in the current model. It is much more beneficial for jobs and hence profit to "service" things- not resolve them.

In other words, the system requires problems/constant consumer interest in order to work. The more people who have cancer in America, the better the economy due to expensive medical treatments. Needless to say, this generates an inherent disregard for human well being. The monetary arrangement, whether in the form of capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, free-market or the like, is utterly detached from natural resources and thus human well-being. It is erroneously assumed that the incentive to seek money is also the incentive to help society. Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, every single product created by a corporation today is immediately inferior by design, for the market requirement to cut creation costs in favor of lowering the output "purchase price" to maintain a competitive edge, automatically reduces the quality of any given item by default. In other words it is impossible to create the “strategically best”, long lasting anything in our society and this translates into, again, outrageous amounts of resource waste. This is entirely and provably unsustainable as a social system and the world you are beginning to see emerge around you, with growing starvation, poverty, unemployment; along with the growing scarcity of water, food and arable land, is the result.

Likewise, most occupations are not directly related to the actual necessities of life. Rather, they are artificial concoctions in order to keep people employed so they can acquire purchasing power to keep cyclical consumption going. The very reality that each human being is required to be put in a position of servitude to a corporation or client in order to gain income to purchase the necessities of life also perpetuates extreme, needless waste... however, this time, it is the waste of the human mind and human life. In the modern world, advancements in science and technology have shown that we can automate a great deal. In fact, statistically speaking, the more we have applied mechanization to labor, the more productive things have become. Therefore, it is not only negligent for us to waste our lives waiting tables, working at a bus station, fixing cars, or other repetitive, monotonous jobs, it is also entirely irresponsible for us not to apply modern mechanization techniques to all industries possible for, apart from strategic resource management, this is a powerful way to achieve balance and abundance for all the world's people, reducing crime generating imbalances.

In other words, it is time to update society to present day knowledge, taking the carrying capacity of the earth into account and realigning our methods based not on the reward of monetary gain..but the goal of social sustainability as a whole.

Even with our current, destructive methods, the Earth is still abundant with resources. Today our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter-productive to the well-being of people. Today’s society has access to highly advanced technologies and can easily provide more than enough for a very high standard of living for all the earth’s people. This is possible through the implementation of a Resource-Based Economy.

A Resource-Based Economy utilizes existing resources rather than money, and provides an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all natural, man-made, machine-made, and synthetic resources would be available without the use of money, credits, barter, or any other form of symbolic exchange. A Resource-Based Economy would utilize existing resources from the land and sea, and the means of production, such as physical equipment and industrial plants, to enhance the lives of the total population. In an economy based on resources, conservation and the most advanced methods of science and technology, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all. To do this, we have to overcome our current, outdated, establishment practices. This is the purpose of The Zeitgeist Movement- to create a global awareness to thus transition into a new, sustainable direction for humanity as a whole.

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Feb 14, 2011 9:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

I was given a video on/by The Venus Project a few years back. All I remember were the plans, designs and drawings of designer Jacque Fresco which I found to be intriguing - especially as I had recently watched 'The World Of Tomorrow', a visual documentary on the 1939 New York World Fair. I should dig it out to see if there was any of their socio-economic philosophy discussed.

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Feb 14, 2011 9:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Thanks monte -

Not sure if you are a fan of ZMF and RBE or just posting info.

I am not a fan of RBE, but in fairness the Free Market Anarchy approach also has major shortcomings.

My biggest issue with RBE is the dependency on automated, central oversight computing and technology. Who writes the code to determine how things get distributed and who gets what? Who writes the code to select and prioritize distribution of a resource when there is only so much and there are equal, competing demands?

I don't see how an RBE approach would escape the fact that there is greed and corruption in the world - and before I commit to some emotionless AI, I would want to be assured that the code wasn't compromised by someone or some group with an agenda contrary to the common goals.

I also think the ZMF and VENUS Project followers fail to adequately address the fact that the population needs to get smaller before RBE would work. Who decides who stay and who reports to Carousel (go figure, a Logan's Run reference) or the Soylent Green riot scoops?

I suppose in a perfect world, a perfect RBE system would work. As would a perfect Free Market Anarchy approach. But since neither system will ever likely exist in perfection it comes down to picking which imperfect system is "less bad"

The unanswered questions regarding RBE, make me very reluctant to embrace it as a possible solution for the problems we face today. In some cases, the cure is worse than the disease.

And when you really get down to it, isn't ZMF and RBE just another name for automated socialism?

Not knocking it per se, but I haven't seen enough to warrant taking on the risk of the unknown fallout from attempting to implement RBE. I'd rather give us a chance to unfuck ourselves before submitting to a computer telling me to do so.

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Feb 14, 2011 11:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Democracy Now! interview -- December 24, 2010
a few excerpts from Amy Goodman's interview are copied & pasted below:

Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction, Attention Deficit Disorder and the Destruction of American Childhood


DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the human brain, unlike any other mammal, for the most part develops under the influence of the environment. And that’s because, from the evolutionary point of view, we developed these large heads, large fore-brains, and to walk on two legs we have a narrow pelvis. That means—large head, narrow pelvis—we have to be born prematurely. Otherwise, we would never get born. The head already is the biggest part of the body. Now, the horse can run on the first day of life. Human beings aren’t that developed for two years. That means much of our brain development, that in other animals occurs safely in the uterus, for us has to occur out there in the environment. And which circuits develop and which don’t depend very much on environmental input.

When people are mistreated, stressed or abused, their brains don’t develop the way they ought to. It’s that simple. And unfortunately, my profession, the medical profession, puts all the emphasis on genetics rather than on the environment, which, of course, is a simple explanation. It also takes everybody off the hook.

If people’s behaviors and dysfunctions are regulated, controlled and determined by genes, we don’t have to look at child welfare policies, we don’t have to look at the kind of support that we give to pregnant women, we don’t have to look at the kind of non-support that we give to families, so that, you know, most children in North America now have to be away from their parents from an early age on because of economic considerations. And especially in the States, because of the welfare laws, women are forced to go find low-paying jobs far away from home, often single women, and not see their kids for most of the day. Under those conditions, kids’ brains don’t develop the way they need to.

And so, if it’s all caused by genetics, we don’t have to look at those social policies; we don’t have to look at our politics that disadvantage certain minority groups, so cause them more stress, cause them more pain, in other words, more predisposition for addictions; we don’t have to look at economic inequalities. If it’s all genes, it’s all—we’re all innocent, and society doesn’t have to take a hard look at its own attitudes and policies.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to this point that you just raised about the destruction of American childhood. What do you mean by that?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the conditions in which children develop have been so corrupted and troubled over the last several decades that the template for normal brain development is no longer present for many, many kids. And Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, who’s a professor of psychiatry at Boston—University of Boston, he actually says that the neglect or abuse of children is the number one public health concern in the United States. A recent study coming out of Notre Dame by a psychologist there has shown that the conditions for child development that hunter-gatherer societies provided for their children, which are the optimal conditions for development, are no longer present for our kids. And she says, actually, that the way we raise our children today in this country is increasingly depriving them of the practices that lead to well-being in a moral sense.

So what’s really going on here now is that the developmental conditions for healthy childhood psychological and brain development are less and less available, so that the issue of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is only a small part of the general issue that children are no longer having the support for the way they need to develop.

As I made the point in my book about addiction, as well, the human brain does not develop on its own, does not develop according to a genetic program, depends very much on the environment. And the essential condition for the physiological development of these brain circuits that regulate human behavior, that give us empathy, that give us a social sense, that give us a connection with other people, that give us a connection with ourselves, that allows us to mature—the essential condition for those circuits, for their physiological development, is the presence of emotionally available, consistently available, non-stressed, attuned parenting caregivers.

Now, what do you have in a country where the average maternity leave is six weeks? These kids don’t have emotional caregivers available to them. What do you have in a country where poor women, nearly 50 percent of them, suffer from postpartum depression? And when a woman has postpartum depression, she can’t be attuned to the child.

AMY GOODMAN: And what about fathers?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the situation with fathers is, is that increasingly—there was a study recently that showed an increasing number of men are having postpartum depression, as well. And the main role of the father, of course, would be to support the mother. But when people are—emotionally, because the cause of postpartum depression in the mother it is not intrinsic to the mother—not intrinsic to the mother.

What we have to understand here is that human beings are not discrete, individual entities, contrary to the free enterprise myth that people are competitive, individualistic, private entities. What people actually are are social creatures, very much dependent on one another and very much programmed to cooperate with one another when the circumstances are right. When that’s not available, if the support is not available for women, that’s when they get depressed. When the fathers are stressed, they’re not supporting the women in that really important, crucial bonding role in the beginning. In fact, they get stressed and depressed themselves.

The child’s brain development depends on the presence of non-stressed, emotionally available parents. In this country, that’s less and less available. Hence, you’ve got burgeoning rates of autism in this country. It’s going up like 20- or 30-fold in the last 30 or 40 years.

Creative Commons LicenseThe original content of the DemocracyNow! programs are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

CBS Documentary - Hippie Temptation - 1967
these are THE 1967 roots The Boys laid down with "the rest of us"

default.jpgJerry Garcia:
What we're thinking about is a peaceful planet. We're not thinking of anything else. We're not thinking about any kind of power. We're not thinking about any of those kinds of struggles. We're not thinking about revolution or war or any of that. That's not what we want. Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to hurt anybody. We would all like to be able to live an uncluttered life, a simple life, a good life and think about moving the whole human race ahead a step.

Phil Lesh:
I think that personally, the more people that turn on, the better world it's gonna be.

Bob Weir:
You can point out the example that the people that live in the community and play around with dope and stuff like that - they don't have wars, you know. And they don't have a lot of the problems that alot of society has.

Phil Lesh:
In essence, the scene has grown up with us, and we have grown up with the scene. We've all grown up together.

this pic was shot on the day CBS filmed
the 1967 Hippie Temptation documentary

This post was modified by dead-head_Monte on 2011-02-14 19:26:43

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Feb 15, 2011 10:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Interesting but one should always be wary of "sky is falling" stuff about the destruction of childhood, especially when it includes nonsense about how Stone Age childrearing methods will solve everything, save the planet etc.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Feb 15, 2011 10:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

"Well, the human brain, unlike any other mammal, for the most part develops under the influence of the environment."

Lost me right there. Anyone who can be so bone-headed as to think that the environment plays no part in the development of the non-human mammalian brain is not asking to be taken seriously.

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Poster: Edsel Date: Feb 14, 2011 12:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Thanks Monte, I needed a good chuckle.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 14, 2011 10:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Thx for taking it as intended; bottom line is it is ALWAYS better for folks to be THINKING, and there is far too little of that going on these days. I do agree, that things have to change, and the "system(s)" are so fundamentally outta whack that it seems it HAS to happen this can hope (er, dread?) it will, and have more long-term positive developments, but I do think there will be significantly larger downsides ("nastiness") to the next big evolutionary transition.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Feb 14, 2011 11:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

So long and thanks for all the fish.

(edit: apologies to Mr. Adams)

This post was modified by SomeDarkHollow on 2011-02-14 19:41:21

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Feb 14, 2011 9:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Transition Communities movements

Fort Collins "Transition movement" is slowly gaining momentum -- see Transition Fort Collins

Ranked Voting movement -- see Fort Collins Ranked Voting

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Feb 14, 2011 9:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

Now this??? I am all over the Transition Town movement.

If I had unlimited resources (sheesh, I haven't been listening to myself at all in this thread have I?), I would build a scaled version of Will Allen's project at Growing Power, Inc in Milwaukee.

You could build an entire community around one of these - and raise enough food to feed 10,000 people per month off of 2 acres.

In downtown, urban Milwaukee.

Will Allen is my hero.

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Poster: Date: Feb 17, 2011 8:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: It's been worse before...maybe, maybe not...dunno

I think this is the worst time that our Earth has suffered through as the Petrolocracy is raping our mother of her precious gifts!!! And the humans that are suffering too! We want to help people get out from underneath the military-industrial complex. Hi! I'm Amy and my husband, Scott, and I have formed a charitable trust. We are in our early 30's and we have a big dream to use the plans of architect Michael Reynolds to build self-sustainable housing from recycled materials(bottles, cans, and mostly tires!) So far, we only have the tax ID# and a piece of land in Castillo County CO. We are fundraising in as many ways as we can (not soliciting here) but just trying to make contact with some kind people. We have a friend in Australia that suggested we contact Bear and your posts keep coming up. Weird? Well I do not believe in coincidence. So we call ourselves F.O.U.N.T. and that's Fundamental Operations Unifying Natural Truths. We just want to help people get back to living. Further, I am so stoked to have all of this great music to listen to and I have some rare tracks to ask about. The Bob rap of Fire on the it in here some where. I will look around just wanted to say HI!